Xoom, GCI. Xoom xoom!

In Alaska Travelgram, Consumer, Technology by scott

Over at GCI, the big push is on for the Motorola “Xoom”, a 10-inch tablet computer.
Sure, Motorola is the manufacturer, but this really is a Google device running on the Android operating system. It’s the next-gen (Honeycomb) operating system–one step up from my HTC Desire.

So–the device syncs nicely with Google products like Maps, YouTube, GMail and your GMail calendar. This includes videochat!
The device is more like a phone than a desktop computer. It’s got a touchscreen and it runs on apps–fully-functional little snippets on the home screen. I’ve got Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Foursquare, GPS, Google Maps and a few other nonsense apps (Y-E-S, “Solitaire”!) on the top level for quick access.
Although it’s a touchscreen, you can get a portable keyboard, just like with an iPad. And although I’m a h-u-g-e laptop fan, it’s evident I can get to lots of the stuff I love to do QUICKER and EASIER with the Xoom. No clamshell, lots lighter, more portable. For some of the video editing and composition, well, my MacBookPro still is the best tool for me.
But I’m carrying the Xoom around where I wouldn’t take the laptop–and it’s INSTANTLY ON and running! The front/back camera/video and instant uploading capabilities make it a great “social” tool.
The other half of my device is the MiFi card from GCI. The Xoom tablet sells for $600–or $500 if you get a MiFi card (Heck–I already had one).
MiFi is sweet, since you can have up to five devices tied in at once: iPod, laptop, tablet, etc. It ties into GCI’s CDMA 3G network in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Ketchikan, Kenai–and a handful of other communities.
There’s currently no limit (read: “unlimited”) on the amount of data you can download within Alaska with the MiFi card. But outside of Alaska, you really want to stick with wi-fi only. The card still works out-of-state, but it costs a fortune. DON’T DO IT!!
Check out the Xoom at a GCI store near you. I’ll give you some periodic reports, including from 30,000 feet on my next Alaska Airlines flight.


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